|For most in the United States, our exposure to lions is limited to a few minutes at the zoo. Seeing these powerful beasts in such a subdued setting tends to lower our opinion of their hunting prowess. In a New York Times article, Goodwell Nzou, a native of Zimbabwe, explained just how dangerous wild lions really are.
In my village in Zimbabwe, surrounded by wildlife conservation areas, no lion has ever been beloved or granted an affectionate nickname. They are objects of terror.
When I was 9 years old, a solitary lion prowled villages near my home. After it killed a few chickens, some goats and finally a cow, we were warned to walk to school in groups and stop playing outside. My sisters no longer went alone to the river to collect water or wash dishes; my mother waited for my father and older brothers, armed with machetes, axes and spears to escort her into the bush to collect firewood.
A week later, my mother gathered me with nine of my siblings to explain that her uncle had been attacked but escaped with nothing more than an injured leg. The lion sucked the life out of the village: No one socialized by fires at night; no one dared stroll over to a neighbor’s homestead.
He later explains how a fourteen-year-old was slaughtered by a lion and how the people celebrated the lion’s eventual demise.
Just as most people underestimate a lion’s danger, so, too, do many Christians underestimate the danger Satan presents to their Christian life. A common saying you hear among Christians is: “While Satan may be a lion, he is a toothless lion”. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Scripture plainly states that Satan is a vicious, dangerous foe who is looking to destroy anyone in his path. When we underestimate Satan or lose our respect for the magnitude of his threat, we set ourselves up for failure.
This is why Peter instructs us to be sober and vigilant. We are to take Satan’s threat seriously and constantly be on guard against his assault. But we must never try to combat Satan with our own power and ability. In our own strength, we can do nothing (John 15:5). Through a dependence on Christ and the power of God’s work in our life, we can stand against Satan’s wiles.
Don’t underestimate the enemy. Take Satan seriously and stay vigilant against his assault. It’s easier to defeat the enemy, or avoid the lion, when you see him coming from afar than when he’s managed to sneak up behind you.